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Army bids farewell to Vice Chief Cod

Aug 01, 2008
BY Joseph Lawson

ARLINGTON, Va. (Army News Service, Aug. 4, 2008) -- Gen. Richard A. Cody, the 31st vice chief of staff of the Army, was honored with a retirement ceremony Friday on the parade field at Fort Myer, Va., following a 36-year career.

Known as an advocate of Soldiers, his four-year tenure as vice chief of staff was marked with improvements in government funding to improve the conditions in which Soldiers live and the development of the military from a Cold War force into a modern combat-ready unit.

“Dick Cody is the most influential vice chief of staff of the Army since Max Thurman,” Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. George W. Casey said Friday, referring to the former general who is called by some the “architect of the All-Volunteer Army.”

“We would not have been able to transform the Cold War Army that existed before Sept. 11 into the Army we have now without Dick’s vision and leadership,” Casey said.

Cody’s career is almost completely defined by his dedication to and faith in the Army. He said what he’s done would not have happened without the help of his family, government officials that backed his policies and the Soldiers themselves.

Their dedication and sacrifice, he said, is paramount to the nation’s continuing success, in addition to his own.

“I can,” he said, “because my Soldiers will.”

He said that even though he’s retiring, he’ll never stop being a Soldier. The willingness to place the mission, comrades in arms and the nation itself ahead of the individual is an attitude that doesn’t simply fade away. And the resolve Soldiers gain from their experience cannot be shattered.

“They may bend under the weight of the rucksack our nation has put on them, they will bleed and bind their wounds, but they will not break,” Cody said.

He explained that like any other Soldier, his job as a leader is to put his fellow troops first. He said when he was leaving the Pentagon after a long day he would be reminded of his duty and given “proper perspective” as he passed Arlington National Cemetery.

“Am I doing everything I can for Soldiers?” he said he’d ask himself. “And everyone should ask themselves, ‘Am I living as an American citizen worthy of the sacrifice these men and women make?’”

Cody, an Apache pilot and master aviator, served in six of the Army’s divisions during his 27 years alongside troops in the field. He served as commanding general of the 101st Airborne Division and Fort Campbell, Ky. He led the initial air strike against Baghdad in Operation Desert Storm as a battalion commander. His helicopter during that operation, “Rigor Mortis” (number 86-08977), retired with him Friday.

“Rigor Mortis” was also manned by Capt. Tyler Cody during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Tyler and his brother, Capt. Clint Cody, are Apache pilots, following in their father’s footsteps.
Cody graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., in 1972.

(Ian Graham writes for the Pentagram newspaper at Fort Myer, Va.)

Correction: In the August edition of Soldiers magazine, in the article about Gen. Cody on page 28, the opening paragraph mistakenly reads “A master aviator who saw combat duty in both Vietnam and the Persian Gulf…” Gen. Cody stressed that he never saw combat in Vietnam, nor has he ever made any claims of that nature or worn any Vietnam combat ribbons. Gen. Cody served with honor and commitment throughout his 36-year career, and has never claimed distinctions to which he is not entitled.

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